His Grace Bishop Irenei
Ruling Bishop of the Diocese of Great Britain and Western Europe
His Grace the Right Reverend Irenei was appointed Bishop of London and Western Europe by decision of the Holy Synod of Bishops on 7th / 20th September 2018. Assisted by his auxiliary, he governs the churches and institutions of the eleven countries that constitute the Diocese, based from the Diocesan Cathedral in London. Previously he had been Bishop of Sacramento, Vicar of the Western American Diocese, and had served as Administrator of the previously-separate Diocese of Great Britain and Ireland from 2017.
His Grace is head of the Synodal Secretariat for Inter-Orthodox Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, and in this capacity is a regular member of the Holy Synod of Bishops with responsibility for supporting relations between the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and the other Local Orthodox Churches and jurisdictions throughout the world. He sits on the Supreme Council of the Orthodox Palestine Society which assists in the governance of the Church Abroad’s presence in the Holy Land, and actively supports the foundations of Orthodox monarchy, for which His Grace was awarded the Order of St Anne by the Russian Imperial House.
His Grace served as the Dean for Monastic Life of the Western American Diocese of the ROCOR (appointed 2012); and continues to be a member of the Education Department of the ROCOR (appointed 2014); and of the Synodal Biblical and Theological Commission of the Moscow Patriarchate (appointed 2016). In 2012, the new Sts. Cyril & Athanasius Institute for Orthodox Studies began operation with the blessing of the Holy Synod, with then-Archimandrite Irenei as its director, and which he operated until the time of his episcopal consecration (thereafter handing it over to a permanent administration). From 2012-2018 he served on the Secretariat of the Assembly of Bishops of the United States, and worked in close cooperation with hierarchs of the ROCOR and the Moscow Patriarchate in matters relating to the Episcopal Assemblies and other inter-Orthodox contexts. From 2014 he assisted in the founding of the new men’s monastery in Sonora, California, dedicated to the memory of St Silouan of Mt Athos, and at the official foundation of the monastery on the Saint’s feast day in 2015 was appointed its Abbot, which role he retained until departing for the European territories in 2019. Bishop Irenei served for seven years as an Archimandrite at St Tikhon’s Church in San Francisco: the former home and orphanage of St John the Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco, and was consecrated to the Episcopacy before the relics of St John on the feast of the Theotokos, ‘Joy of All Who Sorrow’ in November 2016.
Bishop Irenei is a Professor of Theology and was sometime Fellow in Patristics and Early Church History at the University of Oxford, and Chair of Theology and Religious Studies in Leeds. His Masters and Doctoral (D.Phil oxon) works were on the theology of the earliest Church Fathers, especially St Irenaeus of Lyons. He is a specialist in Patristic Doctrine and Orthodox theological, liturgical and ecclesiastical traditions, and is the author of numerous academic books and articles, as well as books of Orthodox spirituality and history for non-academic readers. He regularly lectures at Universities, conferences, and Church symposia around the world, particularly in Europe, Russia and the United States.
Bishop Irenei has been particularly dedicated to youth in the Church, to his role as a Confessor, and to the spiritual and liturgical formation of parish life and the advancement of monastic communities.
Communications from the Bishop:
THE VICAR BISHOP:
His Grace Bishop Alexander of Vevey is the Vicar Bishop of the Diocese, assisting Bishop Irenei in the administration of its parishes and pastoral life, especially in the Francophone regions of Europe.
His cathedra is the Parish of St Barbara the Great Martryr in Vevey, Switzerland. Read the biography of Bishop Alexander…
His Grace Bishop Alexander can be contacted here:
Tel.: +41 78 244 72 72
NOTE: The present arrival of a new Covid variant has given rise to the sudden imposition of new travel restrictions across several borders in Europe, which have already affected some of the Bishop's intended parish visitations for December. Below is the most up-to-date version of his intended travels, though this may change at short notice if additional countries impose restrictions that make intended journeys impossible; or, alternatively, if restrictions are relaxed so that currently-postponed visits may be reinstated.
- 3-4: Entry of Theotokos: Diocesan Cathedral, London
- 4-5: Norwich Parish, England
- 7-12: New York (Holy Synod of Bishops)
- (12-17: Visits to Bern, Fribourg and Vevey this week have been postponed due to the new border restrictions imposed by the Swiss authorities. These visits will be re-scheduled as soon as possible.)
- 18-19: St Job Memorial Church, Brussels (TBC)
- 25-26: Diocesan Cathedral, London
- 1-2: TBD
- 5-7: Nativity of Christ: Diocesan Cathedral, London
- 8-9: Brussels Resurrection Parish, Belgium (TBC)
- 13-14: St Basil: TBD
- 15-16: TBD
- 17-19: Theophany: TBD
- 22-23: Luxembourg Parish
- 29-30: TBD
The following is a chronological listing of Hierarchs who have had oversight of the flock of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in the British Isles and Western Europe, previous to our present Ruling Bishop, Irenei of London and Western Europe.
Metropolitan Evlogy (Georgievsky) of Paris & Western Europe
(b. 10/04/1868, d. 8/4/1946)
Metropolitan Seraphim (Lukianov) of Paris & Western Europe
(b. 23/8/1879, d. 18/2/1959)
Bishop Nicholas (Karpoff) of London
(b. 1890, d. 11/10/1932)
Archbishop Nathaniel (Lvov) of Vienna and Austria
(b. 1906, d. 10/11/1986)
Archbishop Nikodem (Nagaieff) of Richmond and Great Britain
(b. 28/4/1883, d. 17/10/1976)
St John the Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco
(b. 4.6.1896, d. 2/7/1966)
Bishop Leonty (Bartoshevich) of Geneva
(b. 1914 – d. 1956)
Archbishop Anthony (Bartochevitch) of Geneva and Western Europe
(b. 30/11/1910, d. 2/10/1993)
Bishop Constantine (Jesensky) of Richmond and Great Britain
(b. 30/5/1907, d. 31/5/1996)
Archbishop Seraphim (Dulgov) of Brussels and Western Europe
(b. 1923 – d. 2003)
Bishop Ambrose (Cantacuzène) of Geneva and Western Europe
(b. 1947, d. 2009)
Archbishop Michael (Donskoff) of Geneva and Western Europe
(b. 1943, retired)
Archbishop Mark (Arndt) of Berlin, Germany and Great Britain
Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral) of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia